What about the lifestyle and physical therapy for Parkinson's disease?
Continuing to perform as many daily activities as possible and following a program of regular exercise can help people with Parkinson's disease maintain mobility. Exercise helps maintain range of motion in stiff muscles, improve circulation, and stimulate appetite. An exercise program designed by a physical therapist has the best chance of meeting the specific needs of the person with Parkinson’s disease. A physical therapist may also suggest strategies for balance
compensation and techniques to stimulate movement during slowdowns or freezes. Physical and occupational therapy can help them maintain or regain muscle tone, maintain range of motion, and learn adaptive strategies. Mechanical aids, such as wheeled walkers, can help them maintain independence.
Good nutrition is important to maintenance of general health. A person with Parkinson’s disease may lose some interest in food, especially if depressed, and may have nausea from the disease or from medications, especially those known as dopamine agonists (which are discussed further in the Drugs section). Slow movements may make it difficult to eat quickly, and delayed gastric emptying may lead to a feeling of fullness without having eaten much. Increasing fiber in the diet can improve constipation, soft foods can reduce the amount of needed chewing, and a prokinetic drug such as cisapride (Propulsid) can increase the movement of food through the digestive system.
A high-fiber diet can help counteract constipation, which may be worsened by the use of levodopa. People with Parkinson’s disease may need to limit the amount of protein in their diets. The main drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease, L-dopa, is an amino acid, and is absorbed by the digestive system by the same transporters that pick up other amino acids broken down from proteins in the diet. Limiting protein, under the direction of the physician or a nutritionist, can improve the absorption of L-dopa. Certain foods, such as prune juice and other juices, and stool softeners, such as senna concentrate, can help keep bowel movements regular. Difficulty swallowing can result in malnutrition, so doctors must ensure that the diet is nutritious. Learning to sniff more deeply may improve the ability to smell, enhancing the appetite.
Simple changes around the home can make the home safer for people with Parkinson's disease. For example, removing throw rugs can prevent tripping, and installing railings in bathrooms, hallways, and other locations reduces the risk of falling. Daily tasks can be simplified, for example by having buttons on clothing replaced with Velcro fasteners or buying shoes with such fasteners.
More information on Parkinson's disease
What is Parkinson's disease? - Parkinson's disease is a progressive and degenerative movement disorder with primary motor symptoms. Parkinson's disease results from degeneration of dopamine-releasing neurons of the substantia nigra.
What causes Parkinson's disease? - The immediate cause of Parkinson's disease is degeneration of brain cells in the area known as the substantia nigra, one of the movement control centers of the brain.
Who're the risk factors for Parkinson's disease? - Age is one of the main risk factors for Parkinson's disease. Reduced estrogen levels may increase the risk of Parkinson's disease.
What're the complications of Parkinson's disease? - Dementia is the common complication of elderly Parkinson patient. Parkinson's disease poses a triple threat on the emotional health of its victims.
What're the stages Parkinson's disease? - Parkinson's disease may also be described by five stages: stage I (mild or early disease), stage II, stage III (moderate disease)...
What're the early symptoms of Parkinson's disease? - Early symptoms may include slight tremor or stiffness, a reduced sense of smell, a tendency to reduce body movements, difficulty walking.
What're the symptoms of Parkinson's disease? - Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include tremor, muscle stiffness, abdominal cramps, rapid speech with little expression in the voice, problems with sleeping.
How is Parkinson's disease diagnosed? - Diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is based on symptoms. There is no specific diagnostic procedure or laboratory test to establish the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
What're the treatments for Parkinson's disease? - There is no cure for Parkinson's disease. The treatment of Parkinson's disease mainly relies on replacing dopamine with levodopa.
What medications cure Parkinson's disease? - Drugs currently used to treat Parkinson's disease make movement easier and can prolong function for many years. The pharmacological treatment of Parkinson's disease is complex.
What about surgeries for Parkinson's disease? - Surgery for Parkinson's disease include pallidotomy, thalamotomy, deep-brain stimulation, and transplantation.
What about physical therapy for Parkinson's disease? - Following a program of regular exercise can help people with Parkinson's disease maintain mobility. Physical therapy can help Parkinson's disease patient.
What is l-dopa (levodopa)? - Levodopa, or L-dopa, which is converted to dopamine in the brain, remains the gold standard for treating Parkinson's disease.